SUBSIDY PLAN EFFECT
The two-year contract scheme for new iPhones, offered by Reliance Communications Ltd, seems to have worked wonders for Apple Inc in India.
The world’s second largest smartphone maker, which is ranked a distant eighth in India, has sold 3,500 units of its latest iPhone models since they were launched in the domestic market on November 1, its biggest number in the initial four days.
RCom’s two-year contract scheme, which offers the 16GB iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s at a zero upfront cost, has been the primary driver, with as many as 10,000 users booking the device.
According to market sources, Anil Ambani-led RCom has already sold out its stock and has asked Apple’s distributor in the country, Redington India Ltd, to ship more devices. RCom had not sold more than 1,000 units of the earlier iPhone version. Now, the company has crossed 2,500 units within three days.
To sweeten the deal, the telecom company is offering unlimited voice calls, SMS and 3G data for a fixed monthly fee of Rs 2,599 and Rs 2,999 for the 5C and 5S models, respectively. The subscriber will be locked in to RCom’s network under the two-year contract.
Bharti Airtel Ltd, India’s largest telecom service provider, has also launched the new iPhones, but without any discount or contract offer.
Airtel is, however, offering a 50 per cent discount on monthly rental plans beginning from Rs 300 and going up to Rs 1,000.
The company is trying to make up for the lack of offers on the device by promising seamless 3G coverage. According to one market source, Airtel has also run out of stock in Jaipur, Ahmedabad and Chandigarh with sales of less than 1,000 units. Both Airtel and RCom declined to comment. Officials at Redington also refused to give sales numbers.
Globally, the iPhone 5s and 5c have been the best launch ever for Apple, with sales hitting a record nine million units in just three days of the first phase of their global launch on September 20.
The biggest draw has been the gold-colour iPhone 5S.
Those who managed to get their hands on the device were showing off their new purchase on social networks. “Do not touch MY iPhone. It's not an usPhone, it's not a wePhone, it's not an ourPhone, it's an iPhone,” Tweeted a owner of a new iPhone.